Things You Should Know About Ebola
The Ebola virus is an RNA virus that causes hemorrhagic fever. There are many questions on the symptoms of Ebola Virus; more importantly where does Ebola Come from. So far, five species of the Ebola virus have been identified: Sudan ebolavirus, Zaire ebolavirus, Tai Forest ebolavirus (formerly and perhaps still more commonly Ivory Coast ebolavirus or Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus), Reston ebolavirus, and Bundibugyo ebolavirus.
Ebola virus has an incubation period that lies between 3 to 8 days. The onset of clinical symptoms is usually sudden i.e., severe headaches, painful joints or muscle aches, fever, anorexia, asthenia, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Evidence of mucous membrane involvement includes conjunctivitis, odynophagia or dysphagia and bleeding from multiple sites in the GI tract. A typical maculopapular rash of hemorrhagic fever are usually seen around the 5th day of infection. Bleeding from the intravenous puncture sites and mucous membranes occur later during the course of the disease. Sometimes, patients with Ebola hemorrhagic fever may complain of abdominal pain, showing false impression of having an intra-abdominal disease that misleads the attending physicians.
Exposure To Ebola
There are two types of exposures from infected patients with Ebola: Primary and Secondary. Primary exposure includes travel to an Ebola-endemic area, such as Sudan, democratic republic of Congo, ivory coast, Liberia, Nigeria etc… however it is more commonly known in individuals handling rodents, primates or bats in the endemic area. Secondary exposure mainly involves person to person transmission.
Currently, no specific treatment is available that has demonstrated some efficacy in the course of disease. Usually the patients are managed symptomatically. Supportive therapy with intravenous fluids, management of electrolytes, nutrition and comfort to the patient is the mainstay of treatment. Patients should be managed in strict isolation. There is no vaccine available so far.
All body fluids (blood, saliva, urine, and stool) contain infectious virions and should be handled with great care as the exact source of Ebola virus is still unknown. Although public awareness and education is an integral part of preventing the spread of Ebola, controlling the transmission of the virus once exposed is virtually impossible. Everything associated with an infected patient should be disinfected with a 0.5% sodium hypochlorite solution. Patients that have died from the disease should be buried properly and immediately to minimize the risk of airborne transmissions.